A Summer of Innovation: Part 1
Are you interested in learning how to leverage educational technology? Do you want to learn how to implement a personalized learning model in your classroom? Are you always searching for opportunities to expand your professional learning network? If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then allow me to borrow a moment of your time. I want to introduce to you a group of talented D.C. public and public charter school educators who, in addition to teaching, are all participating in a unique, yearlong education innovation fellowship.
Earlier this year, CityBridge Foundation launched its third year of the Education Innovation Fellowship, a program that provides talented D.C. educators with the opportunity to take a deeper dive into understanding and applying blended and personalized learning models. During the first two cohorts, 32 DCPS and public charter school educators successfully completed the Fellowship; there are 22 Fellows in the current cohort.
Earlier this year, these 22 Fellows traveled around the country to observe the most promising innovations in more than a dozen schools. Inspired by these experiences, the Fellows returned to their classrooms and began to redesign their instructional approaches. Of the 22 current Fellows, seven are piloting their own blended learning models during the summer weeks.
The purpose of this blog series is simple: We wish to document this group’s pilot experiences so we can share any, and all, emergent bright spots and lessons learned. So, if you’re someone who likes to leverage social media for professional development purposes, then let me introduce to you some innovative educators worth following:
Meet Alexander Brown | @PerspectiveDC
Alexander Brown, a 5th grade mathematics teacher at Randle Highlands Elementary School, is dedicating his summer to “learning as much about project-based learning as possible.” Alexander is determined to create a rigorous, project-based learning station for his upcoming 5th grade students. In addition, he plans to curate project-based learning resources so he can share them with like-minded educators.
Meet Samantha Ellerbeck
Samantha Ellerbeck, a 4th grade special education teacher at Center City Public Charter School, wants to see her students become “wild readers.” As a result, she’s piloting a flipped classroom model that’s designed to increase student independent reading time, within her classroom, so her students can spend more time “grappling with the text.”
Meet Alison Gillmeister
Alison Gillmeister, a 4th through 8th grade ESOL teacher at Center City Public Charter School, is piloting a station rotation model with rising 4th and 5th graders. Alison will help her students deconstruct project-based task requirements to develop project planning skills; she’s calling this pilot her “pause-to-plan” learning station.
Meet Diane Johnson
Diane Johnson, a 5th grade math and science teacher at Orr Elementary School, is always looking for ways to increase student learning during small group stations and instruction. Diane is co-piloting a blended learning model with another colleague and Education Innovation Fellow, Kelley Jones. Diane plans to combine a station rotation model with student choice—the ability for students to choose their own pathways in the classroom.
Meet Yolanda Johnson | @YoyoTeach2
Yolanda Johnson, a 2nd and 3rd grade dual language English teacher at Cleveland Elementary School, is a twenty year seasoned veteran. Yolanda is piloting a mathematics-based station rotation model with her rising 4th graders during the summer. As an educator, Yolanda’s a true visionary. In fact, she started learning how to incorporate technology in her classroom before blended learning became “a thing.”
Meet Kelley Jones
Kelley Jones, an early childhood and 3rd grade special education teacher at Orr Elementary School, is determined to create a positive learning environment so her students “can learn anywhere.” Together with Diane Johnson, Kelley is piloting an open space, station rotation model that seeks to minimize—even eliminate—the need for whole-group instruction. This duo is so dynamic, they’ve even convinced their ELA counterpart to join the pilot.
Meet Desiree Smith | @MsSmith_Desiree
Desiree Smith, middle school math teacher at Center City Public Charter School, is ready to go beyond discussing the “nuts and bolts” of a station rotation model. In fact, Desiree aims to shift the focus “from rotation to creation” by piloting a unique, inquiry-based learning station. Desiree wants to teach her students how to apply design thinking processes to better analyze current events.
So, whether you’re interested in knowing more about blended or personalized learning or you’re already implementing innovative models in your classroom, we encourage you to follow along and participate in the conversation. As we chronicle and share our Fellows’ pilot experiences, we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Off for now…